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After a 30-year-old spent over a year-and-a-half in prison on charges of kidnapping, forcibly marrying and raping a 14-year-old in mid-2019, a court has granted him bail stating that it appears that some days after the duo’s marriage following an affair, there was a dispute due to which the FIR was lodged.

The applicant’s advocate had claimed that there was a delay in filing in FIR and that statements of witnesses showed that there was a love affair between the two and that their marriage was performed with the consent of their parents. He had also pointed out that a co-accused in the case was the girl’s mother who is absconding.

Designated judge under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) MA Baraliya said in her order that no doubt in statements before the medical officer and the magistrate the victim has consistently narrated that she was kidnapped, taken to Panvel by the accused where he forcibly married her. The court then noted that the statements of other witnesses recorded by the investigating officer shows that there was an affair between them and their marriage was performed with their parent’s consent.

It said further that the mother’s statement shows she was aware that her daughter was taken to Panvel by the applicant and that in September 2019 the applicant, his parents and her daughter had visited her place and she had wholeheartedly welcomed them. The girl’s mother had said in her statement that her daughter had refused to return with her in-laws but that she had to return, as she was threatened by the applicant.

“It is very shocking that no report came to lodged immediately after her so-called kidnapping and even after knowing about her marriage and even after the prosecutrix refused to go with her in-laws...What it reveals is that after some days of the marriage there was a dispute between the prosecutrix and applicant. So the report came to be lodged,” it said.

The court also considered that apart from the mother of the victim being absconding, her father and the minor had changed their residence, their phone numbers were not reachable and their presence could not be procured by the court for the bail hearing. It considered further that the accused has been in prison for more than 1.5 years, during the pandemic trial cannot be concluded soon and said there is no need to keep him behind bars.

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Free Press Journal